Amino acids are what the cell uses to make protein. It has been found that amino acid balances were off in individuals with poor hair. The body can manufacture all but nine of the amino acids. These nine amino acids are considered essential to health and must be obtained from outside sources, like food or supplements.
Without amino acids, cells cannot maintain or repair themselves, nor will certain crucial enzymes and hormones be manufactured. Without sufficient amino acids, human hair color and texture can change dramatically in response to protein malnutrition. Protein deficiency, even short-term, results in dramatic changes in the hair roots. These changes include a reduction in hair diameter, slowed growth, and increased breakage under stress and strain, like brushing.
The two most important amino acids for the health of your hair are L-Cysteine and L-Methionine. These two amino acids improve quality, texture, and growth of hair. Cysteine is present in alpha-keratin, the chief protein in hair. Methionine helps prevent brittle hair. The synthesis of the amino acid cysteine may be dependent on the availability of methionine. Lecithin is a good source of methionine as well as inositol.
The best single supplement to feed your hair’s amino acid requirements is methylsulfonylmethane (MSM). This is a superior form of sulfur, which plays a major role in the structural maintenance of the scalp capillaries. MSM contains both amino acids cysteine and methionine, and has a host of benefits besides assisting hair growth. Methylsulfonylmethane is a chemical already existing within your body. It’s a derivative of another natural substance known as DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide); a chemical made from trees that has been used to fight the pain of arthritis. DMSO is used worldwide for many physical maladies, unfortunately it possesses a disturbing odor. MSM does not have this smell.
Methylsulfonylmethane will help your hair grow about as fast as it is able to. MSM is preferable to all other sulfur containing nutrients, as it provides an impressive list of benefits, which include decreased inflammation, boosting of the blood supply, lessened muscle spasms, and a desensitizing of pain signals. Its anti-inflammatory properties along with its sulfur yield make this a "must have" supplement for healthy hair.
Another essential amino acid for proper hair growth is L-Arginine. It is the metabolic precursor for nitric oxide, which is a messenger substance that stimulates hair growth by opening potassium channels. Arginine in large doses (3g-12g) is said to help the release of growth hormone, which may help in hair loss (along with anti-aging and body development). To increase nitric oxide and growth hormone levels take 1.5 mg in morning and evening for this), it also enhances sexual performance.
Another way to increase the body’s supply of nitric oxide is from a very special type of copper. Not the inorganic, oxide mineral, but in the form of a cream, specifically a skin cream that contains copper peptides. Supplements containing more than 2mg RDA for copper should not be taken, and applying the inorganic mineral to the skin directly could promote free-radical formation. When copper is converted to organic form by binding to peptides (small fragments of proteins) it can be safely applied to the skin. Such copper peptides have been shown to promote collagen synthesis and thereby stimulate hair growth, as well as skin healing.
A type of substance called prezatide copper peptide, marketed under names like lamin hydrating gel and Tricomin, is a type of triamino or polypeptide of copper (the binding of three amino acids to metal). This is a blue copper cream or gel that is applied to the skin. What this copper peptide cream does is reactivate dormant hair follicles by way of absorption of organic copper through the skin.
A protein in the blood, known as ceruloplasmin binds over 80% of the body’s naturally occurring copper in the plasma, transporting copper into the cells. There it is incorporated into enzymes such as lysyl oxidase and superoxide dismutase (SOD). Without getting into too much detail, this helps provide vascularity to the capillaries and significantly helps blood flow through them. In addition, this is vital for collagen synthesis, which is critical to the health of your hair.
Copper-peptides and the amino acid arginine are considered blood vessel dilating hair-growth stimulators. These are called nitrovasodialiators, which mimic the natural messenger substance, nitric oxide mediating both dilation and hair growth. Nitric oxide is found everywhere in the body as a means of transport, which has identical effects to minoxidil on blood vessels.
The health of the hair, nails and skin is an indication of the over-all health of the entire body. When the skins has eruptions, rashes, and allergic reactions, it means the inner skin or mucous membranes also have eruptions. Lack of essential minerals is also a cause of hair loss and unhealthy skin. To establish a healthy blood supply to follicles, the mineral silica has been shown to support the structure of blood vessel walls that supply nutrients to follicle hair roots.
Recent studies show that applying the mineral silica, combined with what’s called "activated oxygen" to your scalp may be able to encourage scalp blood flow. The frequent result, hair growth.
A treatment called, oxygenated glycerol triester complex, a solution of plant extracts fused to pure oxygen enhances circulation to overcome the hormonal blocks that would otherwise starve hair follicles. This actually is accomplished, without altering the body’s mechanisms for construction and distribution of hormones. This is an optional treatment, for those who want to halt thinning hair as quickly as possible.
A study of 72 balding men, conducted at the Hospital of St. Louis in Paris, France compared the benefits of using the drug minoxidil to restore hair versus applying oxygenated plant extracts plus organic silicon and amino acids. The result of the study showed increased diameters of the hair shafts and improved the number of growing hairs as much as the minoxidil. In addition, an increase of blood flow to the hair follicles was observed. Optimal results were experienced within three months of use.
Zinc is one mineral that should be considered essential. For instance, zinc inhibits the biological activity of 5-alpha-reductase; the enzyme that produces elevated levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which will help shrink your prostate and your hair follicles.
Zinc also takes part in antioxidant reactions that limit free radical cellular damage. Zinc helps to combat superoxide, a free radical that oxidizes NO2 (nitric oxide). The substance that makes your blood flow for better circulation. Superoxide is the principal precursor of many other free radicals. Zinc; along with copper help with the destruction of superoxide.
Since a dynamic bloody supply is necessary for keeping hair follicles productive, the B-Vitamins, including niacin, thiamine and biotin, can enhance hair health by improving factors that promote circulation of blood to the skin of the scalp.
Try to limit your intake of raw eggs, as they are high in avidin, a protein that binds biotin and prevents it from being absorbed.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) help improve hair texture and prevent dry, brittle hair. Omega-3 is the most important, which is most deficient in the "standard" diet. Sources include cold water fish, flaxseed and hemp seed oil. Gamma Linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid found in unrefined evening primrose oil, hemp seed and black current oils are very beneficial as well.